Environment news round up in France this May

Rennes bans grass clippings at tips, Lyon bans polluting fireplaces and more

In Rennes grass cuttings represent 30% of vegetation dumped each year

Rennes residents’ clippings prohibited

In what is seen as a pioneering and eco-friendly move by authorities in a major city, a new law in Rennes will ban residents from dumping their lawn clippings at local tips (déchetteries) after January 1, 2024.

Explaining the reasons behind the move Vice-President of the metropolis, the ecologist Laurent Hamon told Le Télégramme: “It is time to adapt our territories to the challenges of climate change.

To achieve this, we are focusing on simple, effective measures that are within everyone’s reach.

“For example,” he continued, “at present, while lawn clippings are 80% water, we are moving this mass of water around the territory, from homes to waste collection centres, and then to platforms in the department so that this green waste can then be treated, with difficulty.”

He added that grass cuttings represent 30% of the average 380kg of vegetation dumped at tips per resident each year.

“This is an aberration at a time when we are trying to preserve water resources. Plants, especially lawns, can also meet our objectives of preserving biodiversity and the quality of our soil.”

Polluting fireplaces banned in Lyon

The use of open fireplaces or stoves over 20 years old has been banned in the Lyon area, although homeowners can get around the prefectural ban by adapting their chimney with an insert costing between €5,000 and €6,000.

However, as well as claiming state aid for the inserts, residents can apply for local donations of between €1,000 and €3,000.

Wood-burning heating in around 6,000 homes is said to be responsible for more than half of the fine particle emissions in the agglomeration, with an estimated 2,000 premature deaths in the metropolis attributed to these particles each year.

As it announced the measure, the council said it may be re-evaluated in 2027.

Climate change whistleblower dies

Credit: Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock

The scientific community has been paying tribute to French glaciologist Claude Lorius, one of the first scientists to warn humanity of its role in climate change, who died in March, aged 91 in Burgundy.

Considered a leading climate change “whistleblower” since 1987, M. Lorius – who went on 22 expeditions to Greenland and Antarctica during his career – was the first person to scientifically prove that when CO2 increases, so too does the global temperature.

He analysed “time capsule” air bubbles trapped in ice cores extracted from the polar regions, with his groundbreaking 1987 report revealing that levels of the gas rose dramatically, along with temperatures, after the Industrial Revolution.

He drilled down to 900m, a feat that allowed him to retrace 40,000 years of climate history.

Later, as a member of the Academy of Sciences, he was passionate in his fight against global warming and in 2002 he received the gold medal from the CNRS (National Scientific Research Centre) where he first began working in 1961.

Floating solar panels to power port

A Montpellier company has inaugurated its first floating solar (photovoltaique) panels in the port of Sète, Hérault, and will later anchor them 1.5 km off the coast, where they will be connected via electricity cables back to the town.

In the initial test phase, 25 of the 12 metre-long rafts topped with panels – dubbed “Sun’sète” by their creators, SolarinBlue – will produce the equivalent of 300 kilowatts of electricity per hour to power about 20 homes in the port.

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